Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Our First Christian Holiday

Dear Friends,

I had read about a Washington D.C. politician who was vilifying the church and Christians because we don’t like the secular direction in which our Nation is going. He said, “If Christians don’t like it here, they can just go start their own country..”  Well..  Actually.. we already did that.. It’s called America.

It was November in 1620 when the Christian Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. 102 people had set sail for the New World from England on the Mayflower. Four died during the rough journey, and after landing, another 45 died during an unexpected bitterly harsh winter.

One year later in November 1621, the fifty-three survivors (including 14 teenagers and 13 small children) declared a Day of Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims (Puritans) were the English Protestant Reformers who had always set aside special days of worship and prayer and those Christian practices had not changed in the move to America. When the Pilgrims landed in this strange wilderness, they immediately struck up a friendship with the Indians who taught them how to plant and harvest corn. These Native Americans showed the Pilgrim men how to fish and how to hunt the wild turkeys. In return, the Pilgrims gave them tools and showed them how to use them. So when the Pilgrims declared a three day feast of worship, prayer and giving thanks to God, they celebrated their blessings with their new Indian friends. Ninety Wampanoag Indians brought five freshly-killed deer to the “church potluck” and joined the fifty-three Pilgrims for this Nation’s first Thanksgiving feast. 

These first settlers celebrated many more feast days of thanksgiving by acknowledging the Lord God as their Sovereign Provider thus providing a spiritual principle which has undergirded the foundation of our Nation. John Adams was the 2nd U.S. President and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. In a letter to Thomas Jefferson, Adams described the principles upon which our Country was founded and the Declaration of Independence was written: 

"The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the.. general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United. Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System."

And by the time the Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, Thanksgiving had been celebrated in America for over 150 years! From these first days in our Nation's history, days of thanksgiving were also periodically called by government leaders. And a yearly holy day (holiday) was established by a Presidential Proclamation in 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November, “ a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.” Congress later changed this day of celebration to the fourth Thursday in November.  

Thanksgiving is more than just food and football! It has always been, a uniquely American Christian holiday! We join in this wonderful tradition set forth by our Nation's Christian forefathers as we celebrate the majesty of God, giving Him praise and thanksgiving! 

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever... Oh, that men would give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonderful works...” Psalm 107:1,8

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NOTE: More and more we are reading about those who are attempting to revise history and portray the Pilgrims as evil and the first Thanksgiving as a secular event. This from Christianity Today magazine is detailed and interesting.

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